City, neighborhood association at odds over who should maintain fountain

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- People in a Kansas City neighborhood say the `City of Fountains` should pay to keep a focal point in their area running. But city hall says it`s not the city's fountain to maintain.

Now people living nearby have put up a sign to get the mayor`s attention.

“Nobody knows. Everybody passes the buck. Welcome to Kansas City,” Hank Van Arsdale lamented.

Van Arsdale heads up a Kansas City neighborhood association.

“They`ve had fountains there since 1922 and everybody around wants to keep the fountains running,” he said.

The fountain in question was put in about 10 years ago. Late in 2013 the `Armour Fields Homes Association` said it received a bill for more than $800. For the last decade of water used to run the fountain.

“I think that the city needs to have the same pride in the fountains that we have,” Van Arsdale said.

Van Arsdale said homeowners paid about $2,000 for the fountain, but thinks the city should cover the $200 or so a year it takes to run it. That’s why they put up a sign.

“Yesterday got a letter saying take your sign down. Because it`s on public right of way,” Van Arsdale said.

The Kansas City Public Works department told FOX 4 there is an ordinance preventing signs like the one put up, but that the issue goes beyond the banner.

“Last fall, they stated they were no longer going to pay the water bill and the city needed to pick that up,” KC Sean Demory with KCMO Public Works said.

Demory says the city is not responsible for fountains built by neighborhoods or developers.

“The problem is that it is not the city`s fountain. The city didn`t build it, we didn`t put it in place, we didn`t request it,” Demory said.

Demory also says the city does not maintain fountains in neighborhoods.

“The city only manages fountains that are on parkways. The parks and recreation department is in charge of those,” Demory said.

Now it’s an ongoing issue between a neighborhood association and city who says it doesn’t own the fountain.

“We’re not done, we’ll keep working at it,” Van Arsdale said.

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